HC Deb 05 August 1919 vol 119 cc211-2W

asked the Minister of Labour whether representations have been made to him by unemployed ex-Service men in Manchester in favour of substituting wage-earning schemes of building, road repair, and brick-making under the city council for the present unemployment donation, and in favour of signing-on at Labour Exchanges on not more than three days in each week; and whether any action on these lines is feasible?


As to the first part of the question, I have received representations of this kind from several quarters, and I have been doing all I can to urge upon local authorities the duty of pressing on with municipal schemes calculated to pro- vide work for the unemployed. I cannot, however, use the moneys voted for Parliament for out-of-work donation for subsidising such schemes. As regards the second part of the question, representations in the sense indicated were made to me last week through the Lord of Manchester. It is true that the strict rule which requires signing-on at the Exchanges every week day except Saturday was temporarily relaxed in Manchester and elsewhere during the exceptional pressure of the last few months, but the hon. and gallant Member will realise that the rule is a valuable safeguard against the abuse of the scheme of out-of-work donations, and I regard it as essential that the rule should be enforced, as opportunity offers, now that the pressure is becoming less acute.


asked the Prime Minister whether it is within the reference to the Committee appointed by the Minister of Labour to consider the best steps to be taken to extend the employment in the public service of ex-soldiers, and particularly of disabled men; to inquire into the extent to which the Government Departments and public offices are staffed with men of military age and medically fit for service, but who have been retained in civilian public service either temporarily or otherwise; and, if not, whether he will cause inquiry to be made throughout the Government offices, and in the Civil Service generally, as to the number of such men who can be dispensed with, and whose places can be made available for ex-Service men?


The Committee to which my hon. Friend refers has now completed its work, and its Report will be dealt with immediately by the "War Cabinet. The Committee have dealt with the matter very thoroughly, and I do not think that any further inquiry will prove to be necessary.